The TikTok Study Hacks That Work (And The Ones That Really Don’t!)

If you haven’t found yourself falling down a TikTok rabbit hole at least once over the past year and a half, then where have you been? The app’s catchy audios, addictive dance challenges and cute pet videos have kept us entertained during the long months of lockdown and beyond. And, it turns out, it could even help you study better! 

Scroll for long enough through TikTok and you’ll find gems of advice on everything from how to perfectly boil an egg to how to keep your long-suffering houseplant alive. But if it’s study tips you’re after, then you’re also in luck. The app that has a video for everything also has an entire section dedicated to students… Yes, ‘StudyTok’ is real. 

But while it’s easy to get lost scrolling through ‘life-saving’ hacks and revision advice, it can be difficult to know which ones really work and which it’s better not to try. 

So, we set our Team of Experts to work diving deep into the depths of StudyTok to reveal the hacks that really work (and the ones that definitely don’t!) 

Swap passive note-taking for Active Recall

‘Stop taking notes?!’ we hear you cry in disbelief. But that’s exactly what this StudyTok hack suggests you do. And, believe it or not, our experts agree! 

Now, we’re not saying throw your Revision Notes and textbook out the window, you’ll definitely still be needing them. But using them in a process called Active Recall will help you learn and retain information much more effectively than simply passively re-reading your notes. 

Active Recall involves using questions or prompts to test your knowledge on a subject. It’s much more effective than passively reading about the subject as it requires your brain to recall the information in the same way it would have to in an exam. 

One way StudyTok suggests practising Active Recall is by using flashcards. Write your question or prompt on one side of the card and the answer on the other. Then, either go through the cards yourself, checking your answers as you go, or enlist a friend or family member to test you instead.   

Add apps to your study toolkit 

On our phones, tablets and even our computers, we have hundreds of apps downloaded to help us with numerous daily tasks. And studying is no different. StudyTok is full of recommendations for apps to download to help you with revision. So, which ones really work?

  • Forest – using the Pomodoro technique, this app allows you to set short timers in which you aim to complete a certain task. As the time goes on, a plant begins to grow on your phone screen. Finish the task and you’ll get to see the plant fully bloom. 
  • Offtime – distraction is the enemy of successful studying. And social media is the worst culprit. Apps like Offtime allow you to switch off or block certain apps while you’re studying, removing the temptation to quickly check your Instagram feed or reply to your friend on Snapchat. 
  • Quizlet – revision notes and flashcards can be fantastic study tools, but they can take a long time to write out manually. So, if you’re after a simple, quick solution that will store all your notes in one place and allow you to test yourself as you go, why not try using an app like Quizlet?
  • SimpleMind – if you’re someone who finds mindmapping really helpful when revising, then using an app like SimpleMind could help you create neat, editable digital versions

Pick a productive playlist

Listening to music while studying is a little like Marmite – you either love it, or hate it. But it turns out that certain types of music are scientifically proven to help us focus. So, if you are planning to tune in while you’re working, try pressing play on one of these:

  • Classical music – whether you’re a classical fan or first-timer, this genre is believed to hold some serious study benefits. Science suggests that listening to classical music helps relax the mind, improve focus and increase knowledge retention. 
  • Cinematic scores – feeling tired and a little demotivated when you sit down to study? The grand sweeping scores of music from the movies might just give you the boost you need!
  • Instrumental tracks – if you find lyrics distracting, then give some instrumental tracks a go. You can find covers of most of your favourite songs played by piano, strings or orchestra.
  • Video Game soundtracks – yes, you heard us right. Video game music could actually help you study! Carefully composed to help keep you focused and engaged, they might just be the perfect soundtrack to your studies. 
  • Soothing sounds – Whether it’s falling rain, ocean waves or even thunderstorms, many of us find the soothing sounds of nature incredibly helpful when it comes to reducing stress and helping us focus. 

Learn together by teaching

Studying can often be quite a lonely task. But one StudyTok hack proves the benefits of teaming up with your peers. This scientifically supported hack suggests that the best way to test your knowledge and boost your memory of a subject is by teaching it to others. 

So, why not set a date with your friends and each prepare a topic to teach the others? Delivering the topic out loud will force you to recall the most important pieces of information, and also identify the bits you need to revisit!

Take regular breaks 

‘Take a break’ – surely this can’t be a study hack! But this may just be one of the most important, and most effective StudyTok hacks we’ve come across. 

Planning out your study time and taking regular breaks is absolutely essential for retaining focus, boosting memory, and protecting yourself from stress and burnout. If you can, getting out in the fresh air for a quick walk will add even more benefits to your break. Gentle exercise like walking is scientifically proven to aid focus and improve brain function.

And a few hacks to steer clear of…

While there are many fantastic StudyTok hacks out there which we fully encourage you try out, we definitely came across a few that aren’t as good as they might at first seem… 

  • Answer websites – while these knowledgeable sites might appear to offer the ultimate time-saving study support, they’re really a form of cheating. You won’t properly learn or retain any of the knowledge you need and when it comes to your exams, you’ll be left underprepared.
  • Online summary videos – while online summary videos can be a great way of quickly refreshing your memory of a topic, using them on their own will not help you learn and retain subject knowledge in enough detail. More dynamic strategies, such as Active Recall, are much more effective as they actively engage your memory and boost knowledge retention. 
  • Making it competitive – studying with your friends may help you stay focused and test your memory, but constantly comparing your progress with others’ can be harmful. We all learn in different ways and at different rates, so it’s much more important to focus on your own studies and making improvements at your own pace. 

Want to explore more StudyTok hacks? Check out one of our favourite accounts – @stylishstudy, @study_stuff or @studynotesideas.

Let us know which study hacks you try, and which ones work for you, by getting in touch @SaveMyExams on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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